Oops: I Missed My Flight, Almost Got Denied Entry To Qatar

Oops: I Missed My Flight, Almost Got Denied Entry To Qatar

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I pride myself in being pretty good when it comes to flying. No, not flying planes, but rather booking airline tickets (whether with cash or miles), figuring out the complicated logistics of traveling, never missing a flight, rebooking with ease in the case of irregular operations, etc.

A vast majority of the time I get things right when it comes to this stuff… and then there’s what happened to us at Velana International Airport (MLE) in the Maldives. I’m kind of embarrassed, but I’ll share it anyway.

I didn’t do my homework

After an amazing 11 nights in the Maldives, it was time to slowly return home. We were first flying from Male to Doha in Qatar Airways first class, and then we’d spend a couple of nights in Doha. I was especially looking forward to this flight, as it was operated by a leased Cathay Pacific Boeing 777.

We took the seaplane from the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, and arrived at the Qatar Airways check-in counter at around 4:30PM for our 7:45PM flight to Doha. We had plenty of time to spare, or so we thought.

Qatar Airways check-in Male Airport

I handed over our passports and our PCR tests (required to enter Qatar) to the representative, and we were asked for our final destination. When I said Doha, the conversation went something like this:

Agent: “Can I see your Ehteraz form?”
Me: “Sorry, what’s that?”
Agent: “The authorization needed to travel to Qatar.”
Me: “I thought I read that the pre-travel authorization form was optional and was just intended to speed up the arrivals process? We have our PCR tests and proof of vaccination, including booster.”
Agent: “No, we can’t let you board unless you have been approved.”
Me: “Oh… do you know how long that takes?”
Agent: “Sometimes it’s fast, and sometimes it’s not.”

Okay, you’re probably wondering how I screwed this up. After all, I’ve traveled internationally quite a bit during the pandemic, and haven’t had a single issue keeping track of travel restrictions and entry requirements, both for me and my family.

Of course I looked at Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health website prior to travel, yet somehow I didn’t interpret it correctly:

  • On some level I probably have unnecessary paperwork fatigue, given the number of forms that I’ve filled out over the past two years; on top of that, with restrictions easing, there aren’t as many travel forms as there used to be, so maybe I was just assuming that a global travel hub was now making it easy to visit
  • I don’t think Qatar’s website about travel requirements is particularly clear; I scrolled down to the section for “visitors,” and nowhere there does it mention needing to complete the pre-travel authorization, but rather it just talks about the testing requirement
  • I saw other sections that referenced how “your pre-travel online registration will help accelerate your passage and clearance at the port of arrival for a better arrival experience in Qatar,” which makes it sound like it’s optional rather than required

I’ve taken some trips lately with optional pre-travel forms, and found them to be a huge waste of time, and that’s how I interpreted this as well. I should have erred on the side of caution and filled out the form, though.

Let me be clear, I accept full responsibility here. There are sections that state these pre-travel forms are required, but I do think this could be spelled out more clearly.

Issues with Qatar’s pre-travel form

Initially I wasn’t really worried. Most countries that require you to fill out some pre-travel form either have an instant approval process, or the applications get processed within minutes. Male Airport isn’t exactly a great place to have to do get anything done on your laptop, between the spotty Wi-Fi (and very slow tethering), plus the complete lack of seating in the departures area (there are literally zero seats near check-in).

So I simply sat down on the floor near the check-in desk. Within about 15 minutes I managed to fill out the forms and submit them. Less than 10 minutes later I received an email indicating that our applications had been processed — woot, I figured everything was good. Then I went to the application, and the status was listed as “return for action.” There was a comment stating the following:

“Dear passengers, Kindly provide your V-safe screen shot for verification. Thankyou.”

Sorry, say what? I asked the check-in agent if she knew what V-Safe is, and she said she had never heard of it. I also looked at Qatar’s website, and there was no reference to this. So I did some Googling, and it seems that it’s a CDC vaccination health checker program, whatever that is.

I had never heard of this before, and for that matter I haven’t needed that once for travel since the start of the pandemic.

Okay, I figured I’d try to sign-up for V-Safe, so I went to the official CDC website, and got an error message on the registration page, saying that they couldn’t find what I was looking for. I tried on my smartphone and laptop, I tried with different browsers, and I tried with and without a VPN. No matter which method I tried, the site was down for maintenance (or something), it seems. I guess the timing makes sense, since it was a weekend.

Lovely…

The issue here is that you have no recourse, and no way of communicating with anyone in Qatar. It’s not like you can put a note in your profile explaining this.

So I figured my best bet was to try submitting the form again. Think of it as the immigration version of “hang up and call again.” Once again our application was processed within 10 minutes. This time there was no request for V-Safe, but rather there was a different problem:

“Dear Passengers, Kindly attach your full dose CDC vaccine certificate for verification. Thank you”

The problem is that we had submitted our full vaccine certificates (including booster) with the application. Admittedly US vaccine cards (especially with boosters) look like an elementary school arts & crafts project, but still…

So I went back into the application and uploaded the pictures again, in hopes that maybe someone hadn’t seen it correctly. 10 minutes later there was a response indicating the same problem.

We were at a standstill — the check-in agent was lovely but explained this was something she had no control over, which I can’t blame her for.

Now what?!

The station manager kindly got involved in this situation, and tried to do everything he could to help. At this point we were quickly coming to the realization that we probably weren’t going to make our flight:

  • We realized we might be spending the night in Male, which frankly I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time, so there was a silver lining
  • Our PCR test would be expired if we traveled the next day, so realistically we would have just rebooked something for the next day connecting in Qatar, rather than staying there (since connections don’t require testing)

Check-in started to close for our flight, with the screens switching from the Qatar Airways logo, to just the generic airport messages.

Check-in counter at Male Airport

I knew it was bad news when the (rather dirty) Qatar Airways first class check-in carpet was being rolled up.

Bye bye carpet!

The good news is that Qatar Airways has three back-to-back flights from Male to Doha, all on 777s. One is at 7:45PM, one is at 8:45PM, and one is at 9:05PM. The station manager promised to rebook us on one of these if the situation could be worked out.

But unfortunately all we could do was wait. We were promised that someone was working on the situation in the background, so we waited and waited and waited. Before we knew it, check-in was closing for the 8:45PM flight.

At this point we knew it was only 20 minutes until check-in closed for the 9:05PM flight. Around this time we were informed that one of us had been authorized to take the flight, but they were still waiting for authorization for the second person.

We kept waiting. Eventually check-in also closed for the 9:05PM flight. But a few minutes later we finally got the news that we had both been “cleared,” and were told that upon arrival we just had to go to a specific desk.

We ran toward immigration and security, and arrived at our gate about halfway through the boarding process. My goodness were we excited to see this plane!

The Qatar Airways 777 taking us to Doha

Bottom line

For the first time since the start of the pandemic I had issues with travel restrictions. Go figure this happened as most countries are starting to eliminate barriers to travel, and even eliminate travel forms.

While I think Qatar’s entry requirements are a bit confusing, it was ultimately on me for not filling out this form in advance. I figured that even if it needed to be filled out, I’d have no issues doing so at the airport. But this ended up being the one situation where that didn’t work.

We lucked out in the sense that there were three back-to-back flights that were wide open in first class, because otherwise this would have been much more complicated. Even with that, we only barely made our flight.

In retrospect I have to wonder how this situation would have played out differently even if I completed the form in advance. I’m not sure if the V-Safe website would have been working, and for that matter I was also told to upload my full dose card, when I was already doing that. With no number or email to try to get this fixed, I feel like it might have been tricky either way.

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  1. Shtuyot Guest

    I'm planning a trip to South Africa next month and would really like to give Qsuites a try. if it works out to have a day stopover in Doha, your article makes it very off-putting.
    Being unvaccinated do I even stand a chance of being granted entry? I also have no intention of buying a local sim-card for the few hours I might spend there.

  2. Muhamed Kawji Guest

    I had a similar, but much worse situation during Christmas when returning from Doha to Chicago, with a stopover in Doha for 3 days. I got the Ehteraz form shortly after I tried to check in at the Qatar airways counter. I missed the first of 3 flights from Male to Doha that night. We were 4 persons on business class. I have gold-level qatar Airways frequent flyer card. I was told there no business...

    I had a similar, but much worse situation during Christmas when returning from Doha to Chicago, with a stopover in Doha for 3 days. I got the Ehteraz form shortly after I tried to check in at the Qatar airways counter. I missed the first of 3 flights from Male to Doha that night. We were 4 persons on business class. I have gold-level qatar Airways frequent flyer card. I was told there no business class seats available on the next 2 flights. I told the Qatar Airways ground manager to get me on economy class. She said can't do it and I needed to call Qatar Airways directly. I spent the next 2 hours to fix the problem. I was on hold for 15-20 minutes, then after the agent answered, and while explaining the situation I will get disconnected. I was then told that if I changed my flight to Doha to economy, then I had to change my Doha-to-Chicago segment to economy! I reluctantly agreed thinking I will deal with that when in Qatar, but the line was disconnected. While the gate was about to be closed for the third and last flight from Male to Doha manager said she will take responsibility and get me on the flight. She said she may be reprimanded. To my surprise there were 13 available business-class sears when I got on the plane!
    Then after arrival into Doha I found out that that my Doha to Chicago flight was canceled! I spent the next 2 days trying to fix the problem without any success. I arrived at the airport 4 and a half hours before my flight. It took 2 hours before one ground agent was able to get on me my original flight. I initially was told I had to pay more than $6,000 per ticket to get on the flight or wait for 4 days! I complained to Qatar Airways, but heard not from them. I filed a complaint with the US Federal Aviation, but still awaiting a response. I thought I will share my terrible experience with you.

    1. FR Guest

      I don't think the FAA has anything to do with this. It would be the DOT,

  3. Stuart Guest

    To be honest qatars entry website is a bit of a mess. I currently live in Kuwait and even though I'm a gcc resident we still had to do a pcr even though gcc residents do not need a pcr. Plus the etheraz site at times works and doesn't work.

  4. Connor Guest

    Same experience coming back from DXB routing through Doha. The website is practically incomprehensible and it makes no sense to require an entry form just for transiting through the airport - plus the Ehteraz agents clearly have no idea what they're asking for much less any kind of big picture understanding of their job. Genuinely one of the most stressful and disappointing experiences in my travel career, glad at least Qatar is tiny and easy...

    Same experience coming back from DXB routing through Doha. The website is practically incomprehensible and it makes no sense to require an entry form just for transiting through the airport - plus the Ehteraz agents clearly have no idea what they're asking for much less any kind of big picture understanding of their job. Genuinely one of the most stressful and disappointing experiences in my travel career, glad at least Qatar is tiny and easy to avoid for the future.

    1. LAX Guest

      You don’t need the entry form to transit through DOH. It’s only required if you plan to enter the country.

  5. PaulS87 Guest

    My place of employment uses v-safe to record vaccination records so it's widely used. It's nice to know it serves more than one purpose.

  6. Ehhhh Guest

    I never travel with a laptop anymore, maybe I should start again. Can't imagine doing all this on my phone or ipad.

    1. Nam Tran Guest

      Even if I had my laptop, it wouldn't have helped. I have V-safe for all of our vaccination records as well as all up to date with all the boosters. Even so, the Ehteraz website didn't recognize the uploaded documents. I resubmitted like for 3+ hrs before it all work.

      So, my sense is that the requirements are not clearly spelled out (unlike Singapore which is way easier to understand) and the technology/website is not user friendly and there is no helpline/chat.

    2. NT Guest

      Even if I had my laptop, it wouldn't have helped. I have V-safe for all of our vaccination records as well as all up to date with all the boosters. Even so, the Ehteraz website didn't recognize the uploaded documents. I resubmitted like for 3+ hrs before it all work.

      So, my sense is that the requirements are not clearly spelled out (unlike Singapore which is way easier to understand) and the technology/website is not user friendly and there is no helpline/chat.

  7. Eskimo Guest

    I never understand asking for proof of vaccinations but yet there isn't any way to prove the authenticity of such vaccination records.

    Every country encourages vaccinations, yet no one really cares to validate the process.

    This is no different than asking Iraq or N. Korea if they are hiding WMDs.

  8. JW Guest

    Did you use Sherpa at any point?

  9. Follow up request Guest

    Hey Lucky - based on the comment section and suggestions it may be worthwhile to write an article suggesting where one may check country requirements and other places to use for cross reference.

    Examples:
    Emirates has a nice tool online for entry requirements
    I sometimes use state.gov country list as a high level reference
    Someone mentioned IATA? Never used that one.

    When I'm doubt always go PCR is what I've...

    Hey Lucky - based on the comment section and suggestions it may be worthwhile to write an article suggesting where one may check country requirements and other places to use for cross reference.

    Examples:
    Emirates has a nice tool online for entry requirements
    I sometimes use state.gov country list as a high level reference
    Someone mentioned IATA? Never used that one.

    When I'm doubt always go PCR is what I've fallen back on typically.

    My point is sometimes the requirements are poorly written and make it extremely difficult to understand requirement vs optional.

  10. Marvin Guest

    I really don’t understand why you don’t check ExpertFlyer or some other website that pulls the rules from IATA’s systems. Which is what the checkin agents use and the rules are usually distilled into an easy to understand version, while government websites often are very difficult to read.

    1. Ken Guest

      Qatar has been ridiculous for letting people in and I hope this post encourages the government officials on Qatar to modify the requirements. In any case I wonder why you always get away with these whereas most people cannot. The airline agents are quite hostile or different towards most people especially if they are ethnic minority

  11. Hamza Guest

    Hi,
    The exact situation happened with me.when I flew from Amm to Doh....Because I did not do Ehteraz before hand I missed my flight and it took them in Qatar 9 hours to clear my request and I spent 9 hours in the airport waiting for the clearance. I submitted my application 14 times. I was cleared 40 minutes before departure for the 2nd flight.
    It was the worest experience and most stressful...

    Hi,
    The exact situation happened with me.when I flew from Amm to Doh....Because I did not do Ehteraz before hand I missed my flight and it took them in Qatar 9 hours to clear my request and I spent 9 hours in the airport waiting for the clearance. I submitted my application 14 times. I was cleared 40 minutes before departure for the 2nd flight.
    It was the worest experience and most stressful situation I have ever faced in traveling.
    Anyway, welcome to the dusty and full of sand weather in Doha.

  12. Xida Guest

    Thanks for making this post. I am scheduled to fly through Doha tomorrow and didn't notice the need for the pre-authorization form. They didn't ask me for any thing other than the passport and the cdc vaccine cards and approved within 10 minutes. I didn't realize that they required boosters either but I was lucky to have gotten it already.

  13. Carrie Member

    I suspect that the QR website has been recently updated as I had cause to view it during the past week to ensure that a friend had the correct documentation and it now clearly states that for passengers who are not exempt, (they) 'must register via the pre-travel registration system for people entering the State of Qatar on www.ehteraz.gov.qa'.
    As mentioned by others, it is excellent practice to verify any travel information over various...

    I suspect that the QR website has been recently updated as I had cause to view it during the past week to ensure that a friend had the correct documentation and it now clearly states that for passengers who are not exempt, (they) 'must register via the pre-travel registration system for people entering the State of Qatar on www.ehteraz.gov.qa'.
    As mentioned by others, it is excellent practice to verify any travel information over various sites .... as we do in most areas of our lives.

  14. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    Well, at least you didn't get the vaginally exam.....

    1. John Guest

      Jooooooorge! Dispensing his pearls of wisdom...

  15. NT Guest

    I had the EXACT same thing happened to me last month. We were coming back to the US via Doha so we can flight the Q suite. At the end of our Maldive vacation, got to the counter and the same question - we tried to fill out the form on our phone and no luck. We ended up missing our flight and had to catch one the next day.

    The website is not that...

    I had the EXACT same thing happened to me last month. We were coming back to the US via Doha so we can flight the Q suite. At the end of our Maldive vacation, got to the counter and the same question - we tried to fill out the form on our phone and no luck. We ended up missing our flight and had to catch one the next day.

    The website is not that user friendly. I had our passport, vaccination certificate (with the appropriate QR code), etc.. I kept uploading the documents to the site and it keep not recognizing our son's vaccination form. It was overall a very frustrating experience as there is basically no one that I can talk to in Qatar to fix it.

    As others have said, I considered myself fairly experience with traveling and had gone to other countries during the pandemic and never had any issues with paperwork until that day.

    To add insult to injury - I also had a bad experience at the Park Hyatt Doha (they basically told me that I took one of they large Bluetooth speaker) from their executive suite home). Like I would need to buy a new suitcase and haul an outdated, used speaker halfway across the world - But that is a story for another time

  16. D3kingg Guest

    I was bat shit anxious both times I was abroad during the pandemic when it comes to testing requirements to return back to the US.

  17. Azamaraal Diamond

    MLE is a real problem. Mar 29 I was denied boarding in Business because Qatar changed planes from DOH-SEA but did not update my ticket properly and AA cancelled the old ticket after they properly updated to new a/c seats. They managed to update my wife's ticket properly. No station manager was available to help. Only solution possible was to PURCHASE a last minute ticket at $3000 in economy (row 42, not 4H).
    QR...

    MLE is a real problem. Mar 29 I was denied boarding in Business because Qatar changed planes from DOH-SEA but did not update my ticket properly and AA cancelled the old ticket after they properly updated to new a/c seats. They managed to update my wife's ticket properly. No station manager was available to help. Only solution possible was to PURCHASE a last minute ticket at $3000 in economy (row 42, not 4H).
    QR has NO ASSISTANCE in MLE and nobody will help if you call Doha. As you have described.
    Still fighting to get money refunded but have no way to contact QR as their FAX number is inoperable and that appears to be the only way to contact. AA is of no assistance at all even though it was their ticket.
    Won't fly QR into MLE ever again and suggest nobody else do so either.

  18. bRIC Guest

    I'm not sure how anyone can complain about this. The process is created to keep you safe from the certain death you face from CoViD. These steps have been scientifically proven to keep everyone safe. Pulled a quick one on death here.

  19. Jean Guest

    You should not be embarrassed. Qatar restrictions are just too much and not clear.

  20. Bill n DC Guest

    Sorry you missed your Qatar Pacific plane. I just got noticed my CX JFK HKG HND in July is now downgraded to A350.

    I’m connecting to Qatar in Tokyo so helpful info in the is blog

    Thanks

  21. Mashad Guest

    I always check the IATA map!! Just did a quick check for Qatar and it does mention the Ehteraz form needing to be filled out at least 3 days before arrival to obtain pre-travel approval

  22. Ryan Guest

    Anyone have trouble with QR check in while on two one-way tix thru Doha? I always wonder if the agent will only see Doha as the destination on ticket 1 and force Qatar’s entry requirements on the traveler.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      If you see my posting above - I was forced to purchase a MLE-DOH-SEA ticket. My AA ticket was valid from DOH-SEA but they would not allow a ticket to DOH to be linked to an immediate transfer to a DOH-SEA flight.
      My suggestion is beware. I was denied the transfer because of not meeting Qatar entry requirements at the time. This was rules in effect Mar 29.

  23. jotlaptop New Member

    I sympathize, having recently returned from a visit to DOH, having struggled with the vague overly-comprehensive wording on the Qatar government website (bloated wording typical of Qatari regulations, to cover all possible cases with no concern for readability...we experienced that when working there previously). It caused some frantic last-minute work before our flight.
    Regarding the Ehteraz app: it has been essential for walking into any large building, though it's not obvious from the website....

    I sympathize, having recently returned from a visit to DOH, having struggled with the vague overly-comprehensive wording on the Qatar government website (bloated wording typical of Qatari regulations, to cover all possible cases with no concern for readability...we experienced that when working there previously). It caused some frantic last-minute work before our flight.
    Regarding the Ehteraz app: it has been essential for walking into any large building, though it's not obvious from the website. I only discovered it by chance when I bought my simcard from the Ooreedoo kiosk in the airport, and saw the Ehteraz kiosk nearby. Note that you only need a local mobile number to activate any phone, not necessarily the same phone (i.e. can use a single number to activate multiple Ehteraz instances).
    By the way, I love Lucky's characterization of the CDC vaccination form as an elementary school art project -- spot on! Quite an embarassment for a first-world country.

  24. Michael Guest

    Hi Ben -
    I checked in for QR 675 (the flight at 7:45 PM) while you and Ford were in the check-in area. I saw you guys and actually wondered what was keeping you. I wanted to go over and say hi, but you seemed pre-occupied with some kind of issue. I guess now I know why! I figured I'd see you in the lounge or gate area. Guess not -- haha!

    On another...

    Hi Ben -
    I checked in for QR 675 (the flight at 7:45 PM) while you and Ford were in the check-in area. I saw you guys and actually wondered what was keeping you. I wanted to go over and say hi, but you seemed pre-occupied with some kind of issue. I guess now I know why! I figured I'd see you in the lounge or gate area. Guess not -- haha!

    On another note, would you consider doing a post on two tipping issues that people might deal with when traveling to the Maldives? First, whether (and how much) to tip when you get a tip line for restaurant meals, even when a 10% service charge is already on the bill. You noted this in one of your reviews. I stayed at two resorts and both added a 10% service fee and the checks included a line for an additional tip. Also, it seems like breakfast is included at most resorts and guests are not presented with a check, but the restaurant staff seems to work at least as hard at breakfast as at lunch or snack times, if not also dinner. (Maybe a special dinner takes some extra effort by the waitstaff). So does the waitstaff not get tipped for breakfast?

    Second, how much and how do you tip the butler (or "host" or "curator" or whatever they're called) -- how much is appropriate (and based on what), when/how to do it, etc.? This may be of interest particularly for folks who are staying on points, or paying a discounted rate (like a travel industry rate or a "soft opening" rate), since it seems like it might be the norm to base the tip on the room rate (like a percentage), but the service provided by the butler isn't really impacted by paying a discounted rate or booking with points.

    Also, when the resort adds a 10% service charge on to the room rate, does that impact the tip to the butler (or anyone else)?

    Glad you were able to make it out that night in Qatar Pacific F. Thanks!

  25. Mike Guest

    Is anyone able to comment on how "strictly" this is enforced: I read the atrociously confusing Qatar website and it says that if you are 9 months are 2 weeks past your second dose of Pfizer/Moderna that you are considered unvaccinated. I can't believe that everyone coming from the USA is boosted (or a recent vaccine recipient). Can anyone here who has been to Qatar recently tell me if they notice that detail when submitting...

    Is anyone able to comment on how "strictly" this is enforced: I read the atrociously confusing Qatar website and it says that if you are 9 months are 2 weeks past your second dose of Pfizer/Moderna that you are considered unvaccinated. I can't believe that everyone coming from the USA is boosted (or a recent vaccine recipient). Can anyone here who has been to Qatar recently tell me if they notice that detail when submitting the online registration form Lucky forgot? B/c I'm 11 months past and not wanting to get a booster just to comply with the idiosyncracies of their website if they aren't enforcing that date cutoff.

    1. LAX Guest

      They will notice. Even if you somehow managed to get the pre-registration without them noticing (which again, you won’t) the check in agent at the airport went through every single piece of documentation with a fine tooth comb again before we got our boarding passes. Flew J on QR a month ago.

    2. glenn t Diamond

      Just get it! Until you do you are not fully vaccinated. The 'boosted' immunity you will have is quite amazing.
      Read up on it on a reputable site, and you'll be making your appointment right away.

  26. David Guest

    You don’t need the pre approval to enter Qatar if you are an EU National with an EU digital vaccine card. You could have boarded with your German passport if you have the EU digital vaccine card. Of course you’d have to leave Ford behind ....

    1. Daniel B. Guest

      That is very interesting indeed. I am a dual US/EU citizen and will travel to Qatar in November, so this would be very useful. Where can I verify that info? Thank you.

  27. robbo Guest

    Just transited through Qatar, third time, 15+ hours so went through the same rigamarole as you did. But I managed to interpret the very hard to understand entry requirements ( including IATA ).

    Like you I also submitted Vaccine Certificate on one of my 3 entries and it came back asking for it again, so a tip for others, if this happens to you, do a screen grab of the attachment, showing it is...

    Just transited through Qatar, third time, 15+ hours so went through the same rigamarole as you did. But I managed to interpret the very hard to understand entry requirements ( including IATA ).

    Like you I also submitted Vaccine Certificate on one of my 3 entries and it came back asking for it again, so a tip for others, if this happens to you, do a screen grab of the attachment, showing it is attached and then add that to the list of attachments. Once that went through, I got my Approval within 2 hours and entry into and out of Doha for the 15+ hours I was tranisting was very easy.

    I think this will all end in the next few months. Its called "The World Cup is coming"

    1. Chris Guest

      Did you only need to do the rigamarole because you left the airport? I have a 6-hour transit and didn't plan to leave the airport. The way I read it I don't need an entry form or app, but wanted to make sure. Thanks.

    2. glenn t Diamond

      I think if your 2 flights are on the same PNR it is not an issue.

    3. glenn t Diamond

      Should add that you must remain airside!

  28. Donna Diamond

    Last September at DFW after boarding my flight to FCO, I learned from the purser that 14 people, not part of a group but individuals, couples and families, were denied boarding due to problems with their “documents.” I’ve been both very carefully and lucky that I haven’t suffered the same fate because these requirements are often confusing, changing from day to day and ambiguous. I’ll be dancing in the streets when all this needless nonsense...

    Last September at DFW after boarding my flight to FCO, I learned from the purser that 14 people, not part of a group but individuals, couples and families, were denied boarding due to problems with their “documents.” I’ve been both very carefully and lucky that I haven’t suffered the same fate because these requirements are often confusing, changing from day to day and ambiguous. I’ll be dancing in the streets when all this needless nonsense is over and life in the air for every traveler not just us road warriors is back to the normal four aspirin headache that it was prior to the pandemic.

  29. Omar Guest

    The other comment I would add is you should be checking the TIMATIC restrictions for every intl flight you take. It takes 5 minutes and shows you exactly what the check in agent is reading as well.

  30. Omar Guest

    I wonder why you didn't just instead book a connecting flight so you could be let on and hope to clear whatever issue there was by the time you landed (and if it didn't just fly the connection)

  31. Chris Guest

    I was trying to figure this exact thing out today--the website is not very clear. I downloaded some government app, but not sure how early is too early to fill out. We are not traveling until October, so I am hoping it all goes away before then, but with the world cup maybe not?

    1. LAX Guest

      The government app will only work once you land in Qatar. You need to activate it and leave it running while you are in the country.

      Separately, you (currently) need to fill out a pre-registration form that clears you to enter the country before your flight. You can submit that for approval about a week before your flight IIRC.

      As you mentioned, I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes away by October — they’ve already loosened things for EU and GCC nationals.

  32. work2fly Guest

    Glad this worked out in the end.

    Many years ago, I recall you overslept and missed a flight upgraded with my CR-1. LOL!

  33. Megan Guest

    I always check the interactive travel restrictions feature on TK website regardless of if i am flying TK. I have found it to always be accurate and easy to understand. I just used it to check Male to Doha, for my own peace of mind, and it says this form is mandatory. Just wanted to let others readers know if anyone is looking for an easy to use tool.

    1. AA70 Member

      Is it powered by Sherpa by chance? I've noticed AA and AC have the same facility

    2. JS Guest

      I have been using the KLM TravelDoc website for the same purpose, even if I'm not flying KLM.

      On a side note, at least they checked the documents at check-in, and not boarding. I've flown to the US once during the pandemic and they did the documents check at the boarding gate. Boarding started an hour before departure, the flight wasn't even 1/4 full and still they couldn't manage to depart on time. A lot...

      I have been using the KLM TravelDoc website for the same purpose, even if I'm not flying KLM.

      On a side note, at least they checked the documents at check-in, and not boarding. I've flown to the US once during the pandemic and they did the documents check at the boarding gate. Boarding started an hour before departure, the flight wasn't even 1/4 full and still they couldn't manage to depart on time. A lot of people had to fill the attestation form last minute (yeah, people just don't do their homework...) I don't understand why they can't take care of this at check-in.

  34. kq747 Guest

    I only found out about the pre travel form from reading the forum about the app on Flyertalk. I too would have totally missed this detail but thanks to others mentioning it, I had no issues. You need the form and download the app to get into places in Doha (except uber)

  35. Andrew Gold

    Oh goodness. I'm transiting through Narita next month to head to Singapore and then to Malaysia. You reminded me I have homework to do.

  36. Drew Guest

    Lucky, what about Ehteraz after you landed? Was the app easy to download and did it work while you were there? I am going to Qatar for the first time next month and while I was aware of the pre-arrival registration, I'm wondering how well Ehteraz works once you are in Qatar and using it to enter buildings, etc.

    1. Eve Guest

      I have used Ehterez twice this year. So there is first a form you will fill online, it takes about 5 mins and response should be back within 24 hours at most, they might ask to take action which has happened to me on my second time when it asked me for my exit and entry stamps to show travel history.

      As for the app, you will need a local phone number (available at...

      I have used Ehterez twice this year. So there is first a form you will fill online, it takes about 5 mins and response should be back within 24 hours at most, they might ask to take action which has happened to me on my second time when it asked me for my exit and entry stamps to show travel history.

      As for the app, you will need a local phone number (available at airport, you can get it in duty free) to activate it when you arrive. It will register you seamlessly with the passport details which you earlier put in the website for ehterez approval already verifying you. It works perfectly and is pretty seamless. Uses is all over the place, some place ask to scan, some place ask to look at it, someplace just don’t care but most high profile places like malls and hotel will definitely check it. But you need to keep the app open everytime in the background and tracks live GPS location

    2. Eve Guest

      Oh, also a little workaround to hide your location. I noticed you can avoid the live gps thing by putting it “only track while using app” in iPhones. It will send some notif occasionally and a prompt or two sometimes when you open the app, but you will be fine.

    3. Chuck Gold

      Three weeks ago, I could never get the app to work on my phone. I was permitted to enter my Doha hotel, but that's it. Great trip. /s

  37. Jordan Member

    As someone that has traveled internationally throughout this whole farce, I can tell you the following:

    Check what your airline is saying, what another carrier from your country (that you are not flying on) is stating on their website for the destination, and the flag carrier of the destination.

    If it ALL syncs up, you are fine. IF NOT. Go to your country travel gov site, and also check the UK gov travel site for...

    As someone that has traveled internationally throughout this whole farce, I can tell you the following:

    Check what your airline is saying, what another carrier from your country (that you are not flying on) is stating on their website for the destination, and the flag carrier of the destination.

    If it ALL syncs up, you are fine. IF NOT. Go to your country travel gov site, and also check the UK gov travel site for the country you are visiting.

    Fill out ALL forms, and print TWO copies. DO NOT rely on scanning.

    You have an app and QR code?...Great until it does not scan.

    Sorry, paper copies x2

  38. RetiredATLATC Gold

    Probably wouldn't have had any problems if you were a Pan Am WorldPass member.

  39. DenB Diamond

    If we readers on OMAAT are more savvy than the average "civilian", imagine what this is like for the administratively challenged. If Schlappig can screw this up what hope is there for people with little flying experience and even less interest in the minutiae? Sad none of this is a priority for governments

    1. AA70 Member

      My parents aren't old by any stretch, (50s/60s and not savvy) but to not sound self bloated I often wonder what they would do and how they could travel if they didn't have someone to review everything/fill out/submit paperwork for them etc... If is cumbersome for us they definitely wouldn't make it past TSA

  40. Nick Guest

    I hate to hear this because something similar happened to my parents from DFW to DOH with regards to an Indian visa and not having their old passport. IN the moment they felt rather helpless and couldnt board their flight. It seems these rules are enforced arbitrarily across the board, and I wondered if either someone had bribed there way into my parents seats or that they had oversold business class and this was there...

    I hate to hear this because something similar happened to my parents from DFW to DOH with regards to an Indian visa and not having their old passport. IN the moment they felt rather helpless and couldnt board their flight. It seems these rules are enforced arbitrarily across the board, and I wondered if either someone had bribed there way into my parents seats or that they had oversold business class and this was there way of rectifying the situation. It was all very opaque and no reasoning was given.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Airport staff are punished every time they board someone they shouldn't, rarely punished when they refuse someone they shouldn't. The results are predictable.

    2. michael Guest

      If someone is boarded that should not be boarded, EG without a Visa, then the receiving airport authorities levy huge fines on the carrier ... and rightly so

    3. 305 Guest

      Had AA do this to a co-worker years ago. He had a Brazilian visa but it was in an older passport that he had filled the pages of.

      He flew all the way to GRU with AA thinking his Bolivian visa was for Brazil. He was denied entry to Brazil, even after our clients reached out to the federal govt. AA was given a huge fine and flew him back in J because it was their mistake. He should have been denied boarding at PVD

    4. ovacikar Member

      You can't board a plane without proof of your valid visa to enter the destination country, this has nothing to do with COVID era.

    5. Eve Guest

      Was their onward journey on the same ticket? If so, it makes sense why the Indian visa is a pre-requisite. If it was separate tickets, you can off course fly to DOH and apply for it when you are in Doha since it is e-visa

    6. LarryInNYC Gold

      While the requirement to carry two passports when you have a 10-year validity visa in the expired passport is certainly a hassle, requiring passengers to show a valid visa for their destination is universal and not "arbitrarily enforced". No one "bribed" anyone, your parents were at fault (although innocently) for not bringing their visas.

  41. Guy Guest

    I really enjoyed this article, Lucky. It hit entirely too close to home. Reading your account even got my adrenaline going a bit. We've all been there! File this under "the adventures of traveling".

  42. Steve Diamond

    Reading all of this just shows how much money there is to be made with all the restrictions, docs and forms, tests, online vax card upload cloud based programs, etc. Just too much revenue for these restrictions to go away.

    1. DenB Diamond

      The COVID-Industrial complex

  43. Bob Guest

    The CDC v-safe system is just a voluntary system for self-reporting how you feel after receiving a vaccine. It doesn't validate anything. If that's what the Qatar system was actually requesting that is truly stupid.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Name one border measure, put in place to "protect the public against COVID" that isn't stupid.

  44. Dave Guest

    We are going in a couple of weeks. I have been trying to figure all these requirements out. So this is helpful. Will definitely make sure I get it all done.

    1. Mauro Guest

      Same! I will be in qatar in a few weeks, I stared filing out the same thing but ran into problem I will try it again today

  45. Icarus Guest

    QR has a travel requirements section which is linked with travelsherpa. You can also use Traveldoc, where it states you need to register on Ehteraz from within 72 hrs before departure and also download the app

  46. Rob Guest

    I’m glad it worked out for you.

    I’m traveling to Qatar in September. While a lot can change by then, thanks for outlining the requirements. I find the requirements less than clear on the Qatar Ministry or Public Health website.

  47. 305 Guest

    Until this nonsense ends, international travel will never be back to 100%. There’s just too much to learn and complete before and during the trip. Rules constantly changing, not consistent even within the same country. It’s become more like work than a vacation.

    I missed a flight to FCO last year because AA agents couldn’t read a Walgreens PCR result properly. Had to scramble and get one at the airport. Missed my first flight...

    Until this nonsense ends, international travel will never be back to 100%. There’s just too much to learn and complete before and during the trip. Rules constantly changing, not consistent even within the same country. It’s become more like work than a vacation.

    I missed a flight to FCO last year because AA agents couldn’t read a Walgreens PCR result properly. Had to scramble and get one at the airport. Missed my first flight (was a blessing, it ended up cancelled) but the entire experience was stressful enough to keep me from much int’l travel since

  48. Mike Guest

    Hmm.. I am not sure what was not clear on the entry requirements for Qatar. I did this a few months ago and to me it was clear on what needs to be filled and downloaded in order to enter Qatar.
    Surprised that such an experienced traveler like you screwed this up big time.
    Well, seems you were lucky that the station manager was kind enough to rebook you on the remaining flights for the day and that you received your approval on time.

    Cheers!

    1. jetjock64 Guest

      Ben actually did not screw it up based on the airline's language, which definitely makes it clear that the form in question would "help" with entry. Nowhere is it stated or even implied that the form is mandatory for entry. This is not Ben's screwup, but the airline's for not stating the requirement as an actual requirement but instead characterizing it as an option. Ben could have gone the extra mile, but was emminently justified,...

      Ben actually did not screw it up based on the airline's language, which definitely makes it clear that the form in question would "help" with entry. Nowhere is it stated or even implied that the form is mandatory for entry. This is not Ben's screwup, but the airline's for not stating the requirement as an actual requirement but instead characterizing it as an option. Ben could have gone the extra mile, but was emminently justified, in logic and in language, in not doing so.

    2. LAX Guest

      You are incorrect. The website explicitly states that the form is mandatory:

      “Non-residents of Qatar who are non-immune/unvaccinated OR who does not fall in the above 2 categories (EU / GCC Nationals) must register via the pre-travel registration system for people entering the State of Qatar”.

      Furthermore this has nothing to do with the airline — this is a requirement set by the government of Qatar.

    3. Ray Gold

      Actually it isn’t a screw up by the airline and @Lucky took responsibility. I agree it might have been open to interpretation and a bias was applied because he didn’t want to do it. Read another way and it is just saying why they want the document in advance. I give @Lucky credit for accepting he should have done. I am guilty for breezing through these forms and finding them illogical ( I filled one...

      Actually it isn’t a screw up by the airline and @Lucky took responsibility. I agree it might have been open to interpretation and a bias was applied because he didn’t want to do it. Read another way and it is just saying why they want the document in advance. I give @Lucky credit for accepting he should have done. I am guilty for breezing through these forms and finding them illogical ( I filled one out for my trip to Italy I am on now, when I arrived 3 days later it wasn’t “required” ).

  49. John T Guest

    Qatar still requires a PCR test for entry?? Why would anyone choose to visit somehwere that has these requirements when they could go to somehwere like Dubai that has no requirements??

    The pandemic is over and I am now actively avoiding anywhere that still requires these stupid tests and health forms

    Why the US still has the ridiculous antigen test requirement is beyond me.

    Those countries that maintain these requirements will get left behind...

    Qatar still requires a PCR test for entry?? Why would anyone choose to visit somehwere that has these requirements when they could go to somehwere like Dubai that has no requirements??

    The pandemic is over and I am now actively avoiding anywhere that still requires these stupid tests and health forms

    Why the US still has the ridiculous antigen test requirement is beyond me.

    Those countries that maintain these requirements will get left behind as travel fully recovers this year.

  50. Aaron Guest

    "We were promised that someone was working on the situation in the background"

    What does that mean? And how were you guys finally cleared to travel?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Megan Guest

I always check the interactive travel restrictions feature on TK website regardless of if i am flying TK. I have found it to always be accurate and easy to understand. I just used it to check Male to Doha, for my own peace of mind, and it says this form is mandatory. Just wanted to let others readers know if anyone is looking for an easy to use tool.

3
Bob Guest

The CDC v-safe system is just a voluntary system for self-reporting how you feel after receiving a vaccine. It doesn't validate anything. If that's what the Qatar system was actually requesting that is truly stupid.

3
robbo Guest

Just transited through Qatar, third time, 15+ hours so went through the same rigamarole as you did. But I managed to interpret the very hard to understand entry requirements ( including IATA ). Like you I also submitted Vaccine Certificate on one of my 3 entries and it came back asking for it again, so a tip for others, if this happens to you, do a screen grab of the attachment, showing it is attached and then add that to the list of attachments. Once that went through, I got my Approval within 2 hours and entry into and out of Doha for the 15+ hours I was tranisting was very easy. I think this will all end in the next few months. Its called "The World Cup is coming"

2
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